Chicken Tikka Masala
2 black cardamom pods
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 whole cloves
2 large hot dried Indian chiles
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup plain DAH! lassi
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp amchur
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Kashmiri chile powder
2 tbs lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups onion (white, red, or shallots), chopped
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 fresh hot red chile, sliced
2 cups tomato puree (San Marzano preferred)
2 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp amchur
1 1/2 Kashmiri chile powder
pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups plain DAH! lassi
1 cup chopped cilantro
basmati rice, for serving
FOR THE SPICE MIXTURE
In a small sauté pan, toast black cardamom, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves and dried chiles individually for about a minute, or just until fragrant, then transfer all to spice grinder and blend until smooth powder forms. Set aside.
FOR THE CHICKEN
1. In a large bowl, mix the lassi, spices, and lemon juice. Let chicken sit in mixture for at least 30 minutes on the counter at room temperature, or longer in the fridge.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in large, deep pan.
3. Shake off excess marinade from chicken, then brown chicken on both sides. (This may need to be done in batches, depending on size of pan.) Transfer cooked chicken to sheet tray lined with foil, then set aside to cool.
FOR THE SAUCE:
1. Wipe pan clean, then heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add cumin seeds and chopped onion. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are softened. Add whole garlic, fresh ginger and red chile, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more.
2. Add another tablespoon or so of ghee, if needed, along with the toasted, ground spice mixture, and sauté for 1 to 2 more minutes.
3. Add pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cups of water, 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt and the amchur. Mix well, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until reduced by about half.
4. While sauce is simmering, slice chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.
5. Add Kashmiri chile powder to the tomato sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with additional salt and a pinch of sugar if necessary.
6. Add diced chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.
7. Add lassi to tomato sauce and mix well.
8. Garnish with cilantro. Serve chicken masala over basmati rice.